Featured Authors – Andrew and Cecilee Linke

Featured Authors – Andrew and Cecilee Linke

It’s time to introduce you to another great author (TWO great authors, actually) that I met at AwesomeCon.  Please say hello to Andrew and Cecilee Linke!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both of them are really interesting – aside from their books, they’ve got other passions.  Cecilee is an accomplished singer, and also a huge Kate Bush fan (check out her podcast which is delving into every single song Kate’s ever released), while Andrew shares an interest with me in tabletop gaming. They’re also both teachers, in addition to their fantastic novels.

You can follow them all over the Intertubes:

Andrew’s website 

Andrew’s FB Page

Andrew’s Twitter

Cecilee’s website

Cecilee’s FB Page

Cecilee’s Twitter

Cecilee’s instagram

What about their books?

Cecilee writes both young adult and historical novels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Travelling Society series follows five teenage friends who,well, travel the world together.  Bienvenue sees the girls off to Paris:

This first book of the Traveling Society takes the girls to Paris, France. Nellie’s Aunt Emma invites her and two friends to come visit for two weeks in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Since Anna and Miyoko have to stay behind for family obligations, Nellie, Patty, and Lavinia join in the adventure, though the girls are never more than a tweet or Facebook message from one another.
When they’re not visiting the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, each girl has their own journey of self-discovery to complete.
Will Nellie’s parents understand their daughter’s desire to be an artist?
Will Lavinia find her self-confidence in singing again?
What will it be like for Patty to be away from her vegan family for the first time?

The Wash Woods series explores the history of a lost town in southeastern Virginia, and the first book is False Cape:

The sailors saw the land coming toward them and knew they must be getting close to their destination. It had to be Cape Henry.
Alas, they were wrong. They had strayed too far south and had reached the Graveyard of the Atlantic.
Throughout the 19th century, countless ships ran aground in this weather-beaten area of southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. Many perished in the dangerous storms that often pelted this area.
But some survived and made it to shore.
Here in this isolated corner of the world, four generations of people lived and died by the sea in a little village called Wash Woods. This long-forgotten place comes to life through the tales of Mary Margaret “Mamie” Marsh, a descendant of those shipwrecked survivors, as she details what it was like to grow up in a seaside town at the turn of the 20th century.

And Andrew writes both adventurous tales and science fiction:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Oliver Lucas novels feature archaeological, Indiana Jones-style adventures.   The first book is The Staff of Moses:

Oliver Lucas is a professional tomb robber, though he prefers to think of himself as an adventure photographer and gentleman relic hunter. It has been a decade since his previous career fell to pieces in the wake of a discovery that led him to abandon academia and begin scouring the world for clues to an ancient conspiracy.

Now a powerful man wants Oliver to track down a relic from the pages of history: the staff Moses used to call down plagues, part the sea, and lead the Hebrews out of Egypt. Unfortunately, the scroll that points the way to this relic is in hands of a band of renegade military contractors, and the only connection Oliver has to them is through a disgraced Egyptian spymaster.

Oliver calls on Diana Jordan, an expert in ancient art and languages, and his former lover, to help him translate the scroll. She agrees, and together they set off for Egypt, resolved to track down the staff, no matter who stands in their way.

It isn’t long before Oliver and Diana find themselves in over their heads, confronting undead guardians, ancient cults, and the unleashed power of the staff itself.

And he also writes science fiction.  One of his books (next on my reading list, from the books I bought at AwesomeCon, so look out for a review soon) is Dyson’s Angel:

A thousand years ago the Enclosure destroyed our solar system and scattered humanity across the inner surface of an impenetrable shell surrounding the sun.

In another life, Moira was a relic hunter scouring remote zones of the Shell for scraps of alien technology and human history to sell to the highest bidder, just trying to scrape together enough credits to pay down her debts and escape her past.

That was before her lover was killed and uploaded into an alien computer.

Now Moira is the unwilling captain of the insane alien void ship Zau/Heraxo, scrounging for bounties in the corporate zones to earn enough credits to keep her void ship flying and what remains of Zau alive. Scoring the biggest bounty of her career should give Moira her ticket out of this life, but nothing is ever that easy.

Following the trail of a runaway polymath, Moira’s past begins to catch up with her even as forces beyond her control conspire to use Zau/Heraxo for their own purposes.

I’ve also got a fantastic interview with both Andrew and Cecilee…

Who is your favorite author?

Andrew: That’s a really difficult question for me to answer. I love so many different kinds of books and regularly read everyone from John Grisham to Alastair Reynolds (editor’s note: another Reynolds fan – yay!). If I were going to be locked in a space ship for the rest of my life an could only bring the works of one author with me… I would probably choose either Madeleine L’Engle or Ian M. Banks. L’Engle because her works walk the line between science fiction, drama, and faith-based, so there would be some variety in the material. Banks because he writes fantastic science fiction with a dark sense of humor, but has enough of a literary bent that I could dig into the characters and themes. But this really is an impossible question for me.

Cecilee: And this is impossible for me too. I don’t have an absolute favorite author because I find myself reading more non-fiction these days, so my reading tends to be topic-based. If you’d asked me this question when I was a teenager, I would’ve told you probably any of the Bronte sisters. I was the nerdy 7th grader who read through Wuthering Heights several times (whether I understood absolutely everything, I’m not sure) and still considers Jane Eyre to be one of her favorite books. The language was sometimes a little above my level, but I didn’t care. Reading the Bronte sisters’ books was an immersive experience. I was stepping into a different time and place, and that’s why I was always drawn to the classics as a teenager (and still am; I finally read Anne Bronte’s Tenant of Wildfell Hall last year and think it’s SEVERELY underrated). I also appreciated that these ladies were doing their own thing in a time when women were just supposed to be wives and mothers.

How do you describe your writing style?

Cecilee: Andrew says my writing reminds him a little of Madeleine L’Engle, probably because I’m trying to write young and interesting characters who are trying to find themselves, rather than focusing on romance. I would describe my writing style as conversational (but not superficial!) in my young adult books and a little more formal but still conversational in my historical fiction stories.

Andrew: Cecilee definitely has a more conversational style, though I’d add that she also occasionally has lovely descriptions of the scenes in which her stories take place. I write in a straightforward narrative style, with little emphasis on flowery prose. There’s a lot to be said for a strong authorial voice and directly addressing the reader, but I like to let my characters and settings speak for themselves with clean descriptions and snappy dialogue. Whenever I’m writing a scene, I try to imagine how it would be filmed, then add in descriptions to help readers visualize the events and keep them engaged in the conversations.

Cecilee: Andrew definitely has a cinematic feel to his stories! When I’m reading them, especially his Oliver Lucas stories, I can picture it all on the big screen. Maybe someday that will happen!

Why should we read your books?

Andrew: My books are escapism with an undercurrent of philosophy. You can read them just for fun and enjoy the adventure as characters search for magical relics or fight to survive against overwhelming odds, or you can really pay attention to the characters and themes. For me the story and the fun is paramount, but I always include complex characters who are struggling to work through the many shades of grey which color our world.

Cecilee: I try to do the same sort of thing in my books: include complex characters. It makes the characters feel more like real people rather than cardboard cutouts. This is especially important, I think, in writing young adult literature. I think YA gets a bad rep sometimes. Too much romance, not enough interesting characters, etc. I didn’t read a lot of YA when I was a teenager. Note that I was reading the Brontes at that age instead! I want people to read my Traveling Society books so they can see that teenagers are actually really cool people who are just trying to make their way through the world and do more than talk about make-up and who they’re taking to the prom. Many of these girls are based on some of my own students. Nellie Tryke, who loves to draw, is based on a student I had a few years ago who was a budding artist. As for my historical fiction stories, I want people to feel immersed in another time and place and even learn a little something about a place they may not be familiar with. You’d be surprised at how few people in my area even know about the ghost town of Wash Woods, which is practically in their backyard!

Have any of your characters been modelled after yourself?

Cecilee: Oh yes. Elodie and Heloise are modeled a little on me, in the sense that Elodie likes to play music and Heloise loves to cook. Most of Traveling Society girls all have a little bit of me as well. Nellie Tryke is nothing like me and the same with Anna Anderson. Patty Monaghan is someone who says what she’s thinking and can be sarcastic at times, and she says the things I wish I’d had the confidence to say as a teenager. Miyoko Raymond wants to be a fashion designer and loves to sew. Lavinia Welch, the one who wants to be a singer and who loves French, is the most like me. She loves French culture like I do and she has a major confidence crisis like I had as a teenager. I knew a girl in choir who had this FANTASTIC voice. She came out and sang Tell Me On A Sunday, a musical theater song, at a recital and hearing her sing with so much maturity and confidence intimidated me to no end. So yes, many of my characters are based on me.

Andrew: To misquote Cobb from Inception: “Never recreate characters from your memories, always imagine new characters. Only use the details. Building a book from memory is the easiest way to lose your grasp on what’s real and what’s fiction.”

I use small details of myself in characters, such as Oliver’s frustration at lack of agency in The Eye of Odin and specific elements of Talbot’s panic attacks in A Cold Day to Drown, but I never directly place myself or anyone else into a story.

If you could exchange lives with any of your characters for a day which character would you choose and why?

Andrew: I think I would enjoy being Oliver Lucas for a little while. He’s a bit smarter, stronger, and better connected than I am, and it would be fun to actually travel to the exotic locations he visits. There’s a strong element of escapism in the Oliver Lucas novels, and despite occasional doubts Oliver has a strong personality and drive to learn secrets and explore the world. I’d love to have as much confidence as him and be able to travel as widely.

Cecilee: I would too! Of my characters, I would probably want to exchange lives with Lavinia for a day, simply because she is trying to make it as a singer and singing is something I have enjoyed (though admittedly sometimes fought with in my own confidence issues) from an early age. I would love to be on stage singing my heart out and acting like Lavinia will be doing in later books (though it’ll take a while to get there!)

What books have most influenced your life?

Cecilee: Probably Jane Eyre, which is still one of my favorite novels ever. The reading level was definitely more advanced than expected for a teenager, but it was such an immersive experience reading that book and I LOVED her character. I loved that Jane stood up for her beliefs, that she wasn’t willing to become someone’s mistress, and that she felt there was more to life than just becoming someone’s wife and mother. Another book that influenced me was Dominique, a random French novel I bought when I was in France in 2006, and which I spent three years translating from French to English. The book was by Eugène Fromentin, a guy who was better known as a painter. He was the first to paint daily life in French Algeria in the late 1800s. His writing in Dominique was some of the most beautiful I’ve ever read. You can tell this guy was a painter because his descriptions made you feel like you were right there in the French countryside experiencing it with him. His descriptions have influenced my own (or at least, I try!).

Andrew: I read more fiction, though not as much as I did when I was younger, and much of my view of the world and writing comes from the books that I have read. A Swiftly Tilting Planet is one of my favorite novels, which taught me to commingle science and magic in my writing to produce thoughtful stories driven by characters. Treasure Island is the archetype of a brilliant adventure story, packed with twists and antiheroes. The Lord of the Rings is to me, as so many others, the foundation of my love for fantasy novels, and I hope to write a fantasy book half as engaging and deep some day. And I cannot leave out William Gibson’s madly brilliant Neuromancer, which launched my quiet obsession with cyberpunk, or Orson Scott Card’s Speaker for the Dead, which both challenged me to think of aliens in a different way and showed me that literature can surpass the intent and message of the author.

If you could select one book that you could rewrite and add your own unique twist on, which book would that be and why?

Andrew: If I could, I think I would rewrite some Sherlock Holmes or Nero Wolfe novels in a science fiction or fantasy setting. I love good old fashioned detective stories, but period pieces don’t always feel as relevant or exciting anymore. Sherlock has had a decent run of modernization on TV recently, so… yes, given the chance I would create a pastiche of Nero Wolfe in a new setting.

Cecilee: The aforementioned Dominique would be fun to rewrite and twist. As much as I enjoyed reading and then translating that novel, I would like to rewrite it from the point of view of one of the other female characters. The female characters in Dominique are a little thin, and I think that’s due to the style of the time (mid-1800s). The main plot of the novel is about Dominique’s impossible love for his best friend’s cousin Madeleine. However, even when they do spend time together, you don’t really get to know Madeleine as a person. Why does Dominique love her so much other than he just thinks she’s beautiful? We never find out. He puts her on a pedestal from the beginning and we never know why. So I would like to rewrite that book from Madeleine’s perspective so you get more of a sense of who she is as a person and why Dominique was so in love with her.

Beatles or Monkees? Why?

Cecilee: Monkees hands down. It could be that I have the most personal connection to their music, but I would pick them. Catchy songs that still hold up (even if they didn’t write them, whatever!). Overall, just fun music. My friend Sarah was obsessed with the Monkees when we were in high school (and still is!). So I listened to them as well and still enjoy their music. I actually saw them in concert at Wolf Trap (minus Mike Nesmith) in the early 2000s, where Sarah and I were among the youngest people in the audience! I still have the concert program somewhere.

Andrew: I can’t pick Peter Gabriel? Ok… um… I’ll go with the Beatles because their influence was… no, wait. Monkees, because I don’t want to think about Yellow Submarine.

Who should play you in a film of your life?

Andrew: Matt Damon, circa 2000. Ocean’s Eleven teaches us that he could be just as awkward as I am, and he looks exactly like my grandfather did in 1945.

Cecilee: YES he does! It’s SO weird how much Andrew’s Grandpa Otto looks like young Matt Damon! For me, it would probably be Zooey Deschanel. She’s one of those people who I think would get along well with me in real life. Dye her hair a little red and that could be me! I don’t look like many celebrities (even an “upload a picture and see which celeb looks like you” doesn’t bring up more than maybe 30% matches!)!

 

 

 

 

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